House prices to get burst of energy

Tue, 20 Sep by Georgina Burkholder

 This is an excellent article that explains why our real estate market is strengthening, particularily at the higher end. Essentially, as hiring is happening in the oilfields, the local economy strengthens, confidence returns to consumers who then are willing to buy higher priced items, such as homes.  In August of 2010, there were 67 MLS sales over $700k, this year there were 104.  I also see strong activity in the New Home sector where a building/lot sale price can easily top that price level and many builder sales don’t get posted through the MLS system, making the sales numbers even stronger.

There is also good activity at the low end of the market as savy investors pick up properties for rental.


Where oil goes, so goes Calgary.

As much as we like to say the city isn’t as dependent on black gold for its health and prosperity, the fact is, we are.

With oil prices regaining strength and with hiring happening in the oilfields, the economy is beginning to strengthen – and it’s pulling consumer confidence along with it.

A real estate axiom says that when the economy is good, the pace of home sales at the higher end of the market increases.

People in those income brackets aren’t likely to buy if there is an indication the economy is headed south.

“That’s probably true,” says Norb Park, managing broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “The businessminded are probably saying the economy is heading in the right direction, the oilpatch is in good shape, so this isn’t a bad time to deal.”

Resale housing statistics from the Calgary Real Estate Board tend to agree.

From the start of the year to the end of August, 948 homes priced at $700,000 and more changed hands, up from 779 for the same eight-month period in 2010.

In August, sales in that price range totalled 104 compared with 67 for the same month a year ago.

“There’s a mindset that when oil is doing well, then the economy must be good,” says Park. “That, in turn, increases consumer optimism – and right now, people are feeling positive.”

But not all of us can afford homes that expensive.

Matter of fact, nearly 50 per cent of single-family homes sold this year and last were priced between $300,000 and $450,000.

“With Calgary’s energy sector slated to grow, it is expected to lift the city’s employment, income and in-migration – and in turn help contribute to growth in the resale market,” says Sano Stante, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board. In-migration refers to the migration of people to the city.

“We expect price growth to improve as we approach the end of 2011 and move into 2012,” he says, adding the market is seeing a boost in sales at both ends of the market.

“Improving economic conditions, coupled with affordability and price stability, has given Calgary a boost in buyers for upperend homes and entry-level condos,” he says.

CREB also reports the average price for singlefamily resale homes reached $468,051 by the end of August, a one-per-cent increase compared to last year.

Taking a page from the RBC affordability reports, Stante says: “When looking at Canada’s major cities, Calgary is one of the most affordable regions for homeownership in the country. Buyers are benefiting from improved selection at all price ranges in the market.”

The single-family home market had 1,106 sales in August, an increase of 28 per cent when compared to the same month last year – which, by the way, was the lowest for August since 1994.

Sales of 9,485 for the start of the year to the end of August are 10-per-cent higher than the same period last year.

Condo sales totalled 468 units in August 2011, with a year-to-date total of 3,885 – similar to levels recorded in the first eight months of 2010.


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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Calgary most affordable for housing in Canada

Tue, 20 Sep by Georgina Burkholder

I love this article! While this report isn’t trying to say we have the least expensive housing prices in  Canada, it is making the point that based on the average household income, once a family pays for their monthly mortgage payment, property taxes, and utilities, they have used up 38.5% of their pre-tax income as compared to a family in Toronto where it takes 61.4% of the household income.  This confirms home ownership is much more affordable in Calgary and reinforces the terrific buying opportunity that is still out there for first time home buyers. The time to buy is now!


How long it’s going to last is anybody’s guess – but for now, Calgary is the most affordable city in Canada in which to buy a home, says a report.

More than that, Alberta is the most affordable province, says the most recent housing affordability report issued by RBC for the second quarter of this year.

“In Calgary, it is the most affordable it has been in six years,” says Bill McFarlane, Calgary-based RBC sales manager for Prairie builder markets.

For the average two-storey home in the city, the portion of a family’s pre-tax income required to cover monthly mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities is 38.5 per cent. Provincially, it costs 36.4 per cent.

“Compare that with places like Toronto, where it takes 61.4 per cent – and Vancouver, where it’s more than 95 per cent of household income, and you can see how well off we are,” says McFarlane.

Closer to home, Edmonton sits at 39.1 per cent.

Affordability was helped by a weaker than expected rebound in resale activity, he says.

“After posting two successive increases, resale activity edged down in the April-June period,” says McFarlane. “This had the effect of keeping price pressures at bay.”

Among the provinces, the next closest to Alberta in terms of affordability was the Atlantic region at 38.5 per cent.

Ontario sat at 48.6 per cent and B.C. was 76.6 per cent.

The benefits to the Calgary market of such “attractive affordability have nonetheless been slow in coming,” says the report. “Homebuyer demand has been stuck in low gear up to this point, with existing home sales. new home construction and home prices continuing to exhibit flat month-to-month trends.”

But with industry players and watchers all expecting an upward blip in business, those benefits are likely to improve.

“Going forward, attractive affordability, robust growth, and rising employment and migration will act to improve confidence in the market,” says McFarlane.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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Mon, 12 Sep by Georgina Burkholder

Upper end homes are moving well.  I was at a show home in Aspen Woods last weekend and was impressed by the amount of traffic going through the area.  Not only are high end homes selling but the really low end ( under $200,000) is also moving well to a combination of first time buyers and investors.  Some great buys are out there!!


Link to CREB Statistics page:

Calgary house prices down again

Thu, 01 Sep by Georgina Burkholder

 The Calgary Herald has reported that Calgary is the only Canadian City where prices have declined year-over-year, something that has been evident to those in the real estate industry or sellers trying to get their home sold. While Vancouver and Toronto have enjoyed upticks and even surges in their sale prices, it is really almost a mystery why our prices haven’t moved upward. While there are signs that we are beginning to move up slightly, don’t expect a fast rise just yet. As the saying goes, “Slow but steady, wins the race” and I hope we are moving into this healthier market condition. 


See article below:

Calgary is the only city in Canada to register a year-over-year house price decline in a national survey of repeat home sales in six major centres.

The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, released Wednesday, indicated Calgary prices in June fell by 2.7 per cent compared with June 2010.

On a monthly basis, Calgary prices rose 1.6 per cent from May.

“The Calgary index is still 10.9 per cent off the all-time high of August 2007 and 3.1 per cent off the pre-correction peak of August 2010,” said the report.

The index is estimated by tracking observed or registered home prices over time using data collected from public land registries. All dwellings that have been sold at least twice are considered in the calculation of the index.

Year-over-year price increases were noted for Halifax (4.4 per cent), Montreal (5.9 per cent), Ottawa (4.6 per cent), Toronto (4.2 per cent) and Vancouver (7.2 per cent). The national index rose by 4.5 per cent on an annual basis.

Monthly price increases occurred in Halifax (1.0 per cent), Montreal (1.1 per cent), Ottawa (1.7 per cent), Toronto (2.0 per cent) and Vancouver (1.7 per cent). The national index rose 1.7 per cent from May.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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